Lavalier Technique: Rigging A Button Hole
Rigging a lavalier with the capsule popping out from just behind a button is one of my favorite lav micing techniques. Because the capsule is actually exposed, it has virtually no clothing noise and a much more natural and open sound. This strength also leads to this technique’s biggest downside; since the capsule is exposed and has no wind protection so it can easily suffer from wind noise. This makes it really only useful if talent will be indoors the whole time. This is my preferred technique anytime talent is wearing a button down shirt indoors.
Small Profile Lavalier Mic
It needs to be small enough to fit through a button hole, I use DPA 6060s for this application, but Countryman B6 or Sony ECM-90 should work as well.
Rycote Advanced Sticky
This will hold the mic from behind the button hole in order to prevent it from slipping back in.
A small piece will be used as additional cable strain relief. I keep both white and black in my kit in order to better match wardrobe.
Implementing The Buttonhole Technique
1. With the shirt still buttoned, pop the lav capsule out from behind the button.
2. Adjust the capsule to minimize visibility than place a Rycote Advanced Sticky just beneath the thread that holds the button on, sandwiching the lav between the shirt’s fabric & the sticky.
3. Take a small piece of gaff tape and affix the cable to the shirt as additional strain relief.
4. Affix the second side of the sticky to the shirt to prevent the two parts of the shirt from moving around independently near the button hole.
Recording chain: DPA 6060 in Buttonhole > Lectrosonics SMDWB > Lectrosonics SRC > Sound Devices 664
Note: Audio quality will alternate between WAV or MP3 based on browser compatibility and/or connection speed.
Overall it is one of my favorite techniques to implement because it just simply works great. It should be noted this technique can be visible, but with most framing it won’t be noticeable, but keep an eye out. On several occasions, I’ve had shoots that production decided to frame the interview so wide I couldn’t get the boom any closer then 5ft from the source. While not an ideal decision for sound, it was ultimately what they decided to do. Fortunately each time talent was wearing a button down shirt so I was able to implement this technique and still get great audio as a result. If this technique isn’t working, maybe try a paperclip spacer!